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When online

When I am connected to Wi-Fi, I am able to say "Okay Google" from any screen and it will automatically start a voice search for me and look up whatever I say. I am also able to manually start a voice search by tapping the microphone button at the top of my homescreen on the right side of the Google search bar, and my phone will search for anything I say. Lastly, when I am using the on-screen keyboard to type I can hit the small microphone button in the corner and speak whatever I want to type (which it will instantly change to text, but I have to hit the "x" with my finger to make it stop).

When offline

When I go offline (not connected to Wi-Fi or data), however, things start getting weird. I can bring down the white pull-down menu for voice search by saying "Okay Google," but after I am finished talking it will stay stuck loading on "Recognizing" for a while, until finally it will say "Can't Reach Google at the moment" (see image 2).

After messing around with things for a while, I finally got it so that when I am offline and hit the microphone button on the keyboard, I can speak my sentence and then after an absurdly long wait it will translate it into text (I don't know if this is normal or just my phone).

What I've tried/what my specs are

I have a Moto-X (second gen.). My OS is fully updated (as far as I'm aware – Android 5.1.1), and I have the most recent version of the Google app (version 5.7), the most recent Google Now Launcher app (version 1.3.large), and the most recent version of the Google+ app in case that matters (version 6.9).

In my Settings>Language & input>Google Keyboard, it is set to "English (US)."

Settings>Language & input>Google voice typing, it is set to "Automatic" and inside that the "Languages" is set to "Default language: English (US)."

Settings>Language & input>Google voice typing>Offline speech recognition, I have "English (US)" installed.

My Question

Why do the Google offline voice commands not work when I am offline and how do I make it work?

*Answers as to why the keyboard text-to-type takes forever when offline are appreciated to but they're not my main concern for this question. Thanks! :)

Image 1 Image 2

Screenshots - Click to enlarge

EDIT: As of October 2016, I got a new phone (the Moto G4 Plus) and it has the exact same problem. All the symptoms are identical and I cannot use the voice commands unless I have Internet connection, and the offline voice-to-text is really slow (still not my main concern). It has the most recent version of Marshmallow (Android 6) installed.

EDIT 2: Occurs on Android 7 now as well. But I found out it was the Google App, not the phone or OS specifically. (see answer below)

  • Maybe I don't understand the question but are you trying to use the Google app by speaking to it whilst offline? If so, what are you trying to achieve by doing this as you will not be able to search the Internet. I believe that Google is possibly in the process of making certain commands work whilst offline but I'm pretty sure that this hasn't rolled out yet. – LJD200 Jan 15 '16 at 20:39
  • I was hoping to use it for things such as opening apps or setting a timer or other phone-side actions that don't require internet with my voice. – Guy Jan 18 '16 at 5:10
  • Also solutions suggested in link in above referring to productforums.google.com/forum/m/#!topic/websearch/0orlGW-CjOI/… various app versions . See also comments pertaining to Motox posted by micber67. See this for app settings recommended by Google support.google.com/websearch/answer/2839743?hl=en – beeshyams Jan 19 '16 at 11:56
  • @beeshyams I followed your path and turned on the "Personal Results," but didn't see any visible change. I tried using the "Turn on Wi-Fi" voice command that it suggests, but it still "can't reach Google at the moment" (I even told it to turn on the Wi-Fi a couple times when already online to get it used to my voice). However, when attempting this, I did manage to get this screen again. – Guy Jan 20 '16 at 3:23
  • That's bad. Can you try reversing to earlier versions as some people have successfully done as mentioned in Google link? As you can see, this is a problem for lot of people and there is no "single solution". Since I don't have the device, can only suggest what had worked for some – beeshyams Jan 20 '16 at 3:33
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There are two apps involved in this case. First one is Voice-To-Text engine app. Other one is Google app.

The app you start by hitting the mic on keyboard is the former one. It normally relies on Internet to work, however, can be made to work offline too. I can't explain the reason of the long wait though. Maybe it tries to connect to internet first and then, when it fails, it switches back to working offline method.

The app that you start by saying Ok Google is the latter one in this case. It also uses Voice-To-Text engine in the background, however, it uses the input it receives from your microphone, directly to start a Google search. Which is impossible to perform when offline, and therefore, it fails.

  • So I can't even use "Okay Google" commands to open apps or other local actions that don't require Wi-Fi? – Guy Jan 18 '16 at 5:08
  • This may be available (probably only for US English). Have a look at this article: gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/… – LJD200 Jan 18 '16 at 16:28
  • I knew it! I've seen that image shown in the article that says "Offline voice tips," which is what inspired this question. That article was from last September, so the feature should definitely be on all updated phones now. How do I use it instead of getting the "can't reach Google at the moment" message? – Guy Jan 19 '16 at 0:58
  • Google offline voice commands limited to 10 actions androidpolice.com/2015/09/28/… – beeshyams Jan 19 '16 at 12:01
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Okay, over a year later I have finally figured out what is going on. My carrier apparently uses "MQTT protocol," which means they need the Cellular Data option on to send texts (however, they have their own app set up to make sure that sending texts doesn't count toward your monthly data allotment).

The problem is that when the Cellular Data option is turned on, the Google app thinks that it should have Internet connection even when it doesn't. In my case, I don't pay for any data but I have to keep the "Cellular Data" option always on, as previously mentioned. But this makes the Google app not recognize that the phone is offline, and so internally it doesn't switch over to its "offline mode" and that's why the Offline Commands don't work and it doesn't recognize speech. I tried turning off my Cellular Data (while not connected to wifi) and the offline features worked as expected.

This means that I am not able to use Google's offline features, though, unless I turn off Cellular Data. And when I turn that off I won't be able to receive texts. So I can't have both :(

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